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Monday, October 3, 2016

Reminders from Paradise

I am lucky enough to work in a school district that has the means to send us to conferences, especially out of state conferences. This week, I was in San Diego for a School Mental Health conference that I not only was able to attend, but also was honored to presenter at with other members of my team. That in itself has been an amazing opportunity!

Our conference presentation/adventurous group

I am also lucky enough to work with people who are adventurous, energetic, and flat out fun. We had so many adventures and laughs and got to know each other in an entirely different way. I am currently sitting on my balcony, listening to the Star Spangled Banner coming across the Harbor from the Naval Base, and reflecting on all the things San Diego has reminded me of.

On Wednesday I was reminded, while two of my coworkers and I sat on the four hour flight and literally talked the entire time so my one coworker wouldn't be so nervous flying, how important it is to take out your headphones, put away your phone, computer, book, whatever it is and take the time to talk. The flight flew by, my coworker wasn't AS nervous, and it made something that could have felt unbearable (I know four hours isn't much, but it can feel like a lifetime), enjoyable.

On Thursday I was reminded, while going on an impromptu kayaking tour with two of my coworkers and three random locals who agreed to take us out (they were affiliated with a kayak shop... don't worry!) and show us some of the wonders that sit right in their neighborhood, how important it is to go out of your comfort zone and take time to do new things. We saw sea lions just feet from us, a sunset over the bay, a college rowing team practicing, and hundreds of gorgeous boats. I almost didn't go, but as I was sitting in the kayak with these people, watching the sunset through palm trees, I realized how important it is to embrace adventure.

On Thursday I was also reminded, while riding in an inflatable dingy, in the middle of the night, across the same harbor, because the locals had offered to give us a ride to where we were meeting the others in our group and we thought it would be more fun than an Uber, that life is about embracing every moment to the fullest and not settling for the easy way. Sure, we could have taken an Uber. It probably would have been safer and quicker, but flying through the water on this little dingy, laughing about how ridiculous it was, and seeing the Harbor from a different perspective made me happy we didn't take the easy way.

Our "head honcho" and I riding across the harbor in the "dingy"

On Friday I was reminded, while we were standing on the beach on Coronado Island with Tijuana Mexico to our left, the Harbor we were staying at on the right, the Hotel del Coronado behind us, and of course our toes in the sand, how important it is to take off your shoes every once and a while and put your toes in the sand. What I mean is, so often in life we walk around busy and distracted from the world around us. It is important to take off our shoes if you will, stand on the beach, and really take a look around you to realize there is so much wonder to the world we live in.

A panoramic view from the beach including Tijuana Mexico, the Hotel del Coronado, and the sunsetting over the ocean 

On Saturday I was reminded once again, while walking through the San Diego zoo with our group, the importance of being in the moment, being adventurous, not taking the easy way (they have buses that literally take you up and down hills if you don't want to/can't walk them), and looking at our world with wonder. It was the perfect culmination to our trip. There was so much to see we didn't get to see everything, but that was okay. And that was another good reminder. Life isn't about seeing all there is to see. It is about embracing every moment for what it is and finding the good in everything you do.
A flower in the San Diego Zoo

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